PGCo, did you know… (Demo)

New Walmart Supercenter coming to Bowie, new Walmart to open in Oxon Hill; New Oxon Hill High School to open August 19th and it’s incredible; Maryland Legislature’s Ethics Committee announces summer session to allegedly cover ethics complaint against Prince George’s County Delegate Joseph F. Vallario Jr. (D-Prince George’s County); New bill gives the County the first right to purchase unit/apartment buildings

WalmartThe Bowie Patch posted on the impending Mega-Walmart that’s coming to south Bowie at Mill Branch Road and northbound Route 301.  Walmart is looking to build a 186,000 square-foot Supercenter store on the site, according to City Manager David Deutsch.   This new store in South Bowie is part of Walmart’s plan to expand in Prince George’s County by converting current stores to Supercenters and building two new stores. The new stores and renovated locations will bring jobs and tax revenue to the county, according to a letter sent to some local residents. A new store is also slated for Oxon Hill. “In fact, nearly $16 million is spent by Prince George’s County residents in Walmart’s Alexandria store every year. That generates sales tax revenue that could benefit Prince George’s County schools and help pay for county needed services,” states the letter, which was signed by Walmart’s director of community affairs, Nina Albert.”  
The new Oxon Hill High SOxon Hill High School Hallwaychool will open it’s doors for the new school year on August 19th.  It has a capacity for 1200 students but the last enrollment number I saw was over 1600.  Building has a nautical theme to match its mascot which is a Clipper boat.  Oxon Hill High’s new structure includes 65 classrooms, 4 academies (culinary arts academy and military science academy are two I know of), in-classroom blue tooth and internet connections, Smartboards, and the building will utilizes geothermal heating,
Project Manager for the Oxon Hill High School Renovation, Ronald Skyles, says of the renovated school, “Everyone’s going to get an ‘oh wow’ moment. They’re going to walk in there and be amazed.”  I took the time to read the history of the name Oxon Hill and FINALLY I get it.  It is now my formal opinion that the name of this area should be returned to its former Oxford on the Hill.  This former name was then shortened to Ox’on Hill, then to Oxon Hill.  At the least, change it to Oxford Hill.  The current name always makes me, and probably others, think of oxen.

Joseph F. Vallario Jr.Maryland Delegate for Prince George’s County, Del. Joseph Vallario Jr., is accused of ethics violation in that he chairs the House Judiciary Committee and took in information from a woman about a vehicular manslaughter case that his son was involved in as a lawyer.  According to the Washington Post, “The complaint, filed in April, raises questions about Vallario’s dual roles as a criminal defense lawyer and chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, which in 2011 passed a bill intended to make it easier to prosecute vehicular manslaughter cases. Prince George’s County resident Kenniss Henry says that in advocating for the legislation, she told Vallario many details about her daughter’s 2010 death at the hands of a hit-and-run driver. Vallario’s son, who operates out of his father’s law office in Suitland, provided legal representation to the driver in the criminal case. Vallario has said that he did nothing wrong. He told The Post that he and his son maintain separate law practices and he was not involved in the defense of the driver.”  Now I’m not one for siding with too many politicians but Del. Vallario’s Judiciary Committee actually put forth legislation AFTER this meeting to make it easier to prosecute people who commit vehicular manslaughter.  So why has a complaint been filed?  I honestly don’t get it.  
For RentA new enacted bill that gives the County first right of refusal when a company or seller has a building with 20 residential units or more for sale was approved by the Prince George’s County Council with an amendment that would mean the bill only applies to certain areas of the county, which have yet to be named. The goal is for the county to increase its number of affordable housing units but I see it as just another reason for people to do business in Prince George’s County.  I’ve read the legislation and it just seems that it’s an invitation to creating too many housing projects.  I lived in DC all my life and I’ve seen my share of housing projects and I can tell you with all certainty, housing projects create a cycle of poverty.  In a perfect world, the Department of Housing and Community Development will sweep in like a knight in shining armor and rescue the blighted apartment buildings from evil owners, thereby reigning down sunshine and goodness on all the tenants.  But the reality is this, Prince George’s County needs to force the owners of the buildings to bring their properties up to a high standard and not enter into the business of being a landlord.  Where will the DHCD get the money to rehabilitate and repair these blighted properties?  Even with the $3.4 million proposed increase to their FY 2014 funding, the Department will probably just be able to continue the projects it already started.  Don’t get me wrong, I think they are doing some good work by bull dozing properties and creating more affordable rental units but our entire county cannot be government funded.  The caveats and fine prints in bill CB-026-2013 deter private owners from even considering Prince George’s County: 
(a) An owner may sell multifamily rental facility without providing any right of first refusal under Section 13-1113 if the Department approves a written agreement that:
(1) prohibits the buyer from converting the multifamily rental facility for at least three (3) years after the sale; or at least twenty (20) percent of the units in the multifamily rental facility as rental units for fifteen (15) years from the date of acquisition for households do not exceed the applicable income eligibility figures established under Section 11-138 (b)(4)(ii) of the Real Property Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland; and the Department received the written agreement from the prospective buyer at least thirty (30) days before the sale.
Certainly there are tenants who welcome the County taking ownership of their buildings because there are some seriously sorry owners like Miami-based and Alex A-Rod Rodriguez owned Newport Propterty Ventures who are allowed to do business as slum lords in our county.  See post.  Why should these bums be allowed to abdicate their responsibility to the tenants by selling to the county and probably making a profit? 

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Comments (4)

I went to the community meeting with Walmart last Thursday night. I have mixed feelings as I’m happy to see Walmart stay in the county and upgrade their facilities but the increased traffic on 301 will likely be awful. The design calls for grading the road to make it more level, one addtional new road to enter the facility which will include ball fields from mncppc, and retail, plus making new turn lanes northbound and southbound, and widening Mill Branch Rd.

Sounds like a mess. Route 301 is already congested and narrow. Thanks for the synopsis of the meeting.

I wish Oxon Hill High school looked like that when I was going there in ’93-’95

Route 301 is already a 4 lane highway. Additional lanes will just bring additional cars. Residents should ask for additional public options to get commuters from Crofton/Bowie/Upper Marlboro to NC Metro/Largo Metro/Annapolis to alleviate the traffic, which is at its heaviest during rush hours. Need to pressure DPWT/MTA/SHA/WMATA
Having the Super Center on the edge of the County will hopefully draw AA Co. shoppers and capture those dollars the same way the DC Walmarts are hoping to capture PG dollars. But, at the end of the day, they’re just more Walmarts, which kill local business for low-wage jobs. Perhaps Walmart should pay into small/local business funds to offset their effects on the local economy.

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